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Spring on the York College campus

Alumni Spotlight: Andrea Corrales '05

Lawyer, Department of Defense Office of Appeals
A professional headshot of Andrea Corrales

Andrea Corrales ’05, Political Science, has a passion for litigation. In her present job as a lawyer at the Department of Defense (DOD)’s Office of Appeals, she handles the “red flags” that often come up in the process of department employees and contractors obtaining a security clearance. 

The work starts when investigations are complete. “We come in at the end of the road,” Corrales says. “When somebody has a couple red flags—Russian parents or they’re in over their head in debt— that means they could be vulnerable to disclosing classified information.” 

Corrales handles the government side of hearings where applicants “show us why they think they should still have a clearance right, and access to classified information, regardless of those red flags that we’ve seen.” 

Though she has gravitated to a career in arguing cases, Corrales says there is no disputing about the positive effects that her experience at York College had on her career trajectory. Even the year spent living without air conditioning in Country Club Manor. 

“I have nothing but amazingly fond memories of York,” she says. “It was definitely like a very high point in my life—from beginning to end.” 

Academics played a strong role, especially honors classes—such as a semester-long examination of science and religion—that challenged Corrales to redefine her thinking: “I had never thought they could work together, and exist on the same plane.” Her time in York’s Student Senate taught her the value of collaboration and negotiation, as well as disputation.

York College challenged Corrales to the very end. Just before graduation, she turned in a senior project paper that received pushback from Associate Professor of History Kay McAdams. “She wrote me a tough, pretty scathing email,” recalls Corrales, “saying, ‘I expect more from you.’ No one had honestly ever said that to me.” 

Corrales “put in a solid week of making it a professional product.” When McAdams accepted it, she told Corrales that “this is what you should always be producing wherever you are in life, no matter what your situation. Even if you’re a week out from graduating.” I thanked her for that.

Corrales earned her law degree at Penn State University and has gained positions with increasing degrees of responsibility in the federal government. Yet she has kept a new generation of York students in mind as she has done so. Her service on York’s Board of Alumni Directors—as well as hosting events such as SpartaNation 2020 Site Visit at the Pentagon—led to her being named as a Spartan of the Year in 2020-2021. 

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